McDonald's USA Phasing out antibiotics from chicken supply

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Monday, March 09, 2015
Photo: McDonald's
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McDonald's USA has announced new menu sourcing initiatives including only sourcing chicken raised without antibiotics that are important to human medicine.
McDonald's has been working closely with farmers for years to reduce the use of antibiotics in its poultry supply. This new policy supports the company's new Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Food Animals introduced this week, which builds on the company's 2003 global antibiotics policy and includes supplier guidance on the thoughtful use of antibiotics in all food animals.

All of the chicken served at McDonald's approximately 14,000 U.S. restaurants comes from U.S. farms which are working closely with McDonald's to implement the new antibiotics policy to the supply chain within the next two years. While McDonald's will only source chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine, the farmers who supply chicken for its menu will continue to responsibly use ionophores, a type of antibiotic not used for humans that helps keep chickens healthy.

In addition to the menu sourcing changes, McDonald's USA this week was announced as a founding member of the newly formed U.S. Roundtable on Sustainable Beef. This engagement is a critical step in support of the company's global commitment and effort to source verified sustainable beef.

McDonald's is already experiencing the fall-out from this consumer demand, as consumers are increasingly switching allegiances over to companies such as Chipotle and Shake Shack, which highlight their ethically-sourced ingredients. McDonald's worldwide like-for-like sales, which exclude the effect of new restaurants opening, fell by a greater-than-expected 1.8% in January.

While food chain experts have praised this move by McDonald's, many have also highlighted the fact that the chain has yet to fulfil a similar promise made back in 2003. In 2003 McDonald's said it "prohibits the use of antibiotics belonging to classes of compounds approved for use in human medicine when used solely for growth promotion purposes. Growth promotion is defined as the use of antibiotics for any purpose other than disease treatment, control or prevention." It also pledged to reduce antibiotic use in its chickens in the UK and Europe back in 2001, but the company has confirmed that it does still use antibiotics in its chickens in these countries, according to media reports.
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